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H1 Tag for SEO – is it a myth? April 15, 2008

Posted by seonotes in On-page Optimization.
Tags: , , , ,

Opening my spam mailbox yesterday, I found the SEO news email newsletter. They wrote about the 10 Myths in search engine optimization. There were a couple of points that I must say, are quite questionable to me, but the part that intrigued me most is this:

Organic SEO Myth 7: Header tags or H1 should be used to ensure high ranking. There is no evidence to prove this. However, this is one of the most common myths.

I have seen a lot of sites that lack that html element in its code. This is most evident in sites optimized via link building (instead of keyword/content optimization).

Speaking from experience, sites I have optimized with proper writing of the H1 tag or the ‘heading 1’ tag, have had more stable rankings, as compared to sites that lacked that important element. It was easier for me to maintain rankings for particular key terms which I have coded in the H1 tag.

Remember search engine crawlers look for your H1 description (aside from other important SEO elements, i.e. meta tags), to determine the relevance of your page. Omitting this tag isn’t good SEO practice.

How do you create the H1 tag?

• H1 tags are symbolized by this html code: <h1></h>

• Include your primary keyword in the H1 tag

• While you have your keyword, opt to write your headers (either h1 or h2), in a meaningful text: <h1>Summer Bikinis in all sizes for sale!</h1>

• Write your header tags prominently at the beginning of your content, ideally after the <body> tag.

• Learn how to tweak your CSS style sheet when you wish to blend your H1 tag with your page content font styles. Never hide the text in this tag.

Among experienced search engine optimization specialists, the H1 or the heading 1 tag still ranks high among other seo relevancy factors. You may do without this, but as far as page relevance and rank stability, putting heading tags for SEO are standard operating procedures.



1. Joni - April 15, 2008

Good read, friend!

I’m curious, though… I usually use the other Heading tags like h2, h3, and h4 (as my h1 is only used once in the title on top). Does “h1” have more weight than the other heading tags in terms of on-page seo, or do all heading tags contribute the same amount of weight?

Thanks! mwah 🙂

2. seonotes - April 16, 2008

Hi Joni, thanks! 🙂

Actually, I think there has been no evidence yet if one heading tag is more important than the others, though in the first SEOmoz rank factors article, some noted that the H2 tag gives more weight than the H1 tag. I still feel that it all boils down to prominence – whichever tag (containing the target keyword) comes first in your codes is more accessible to the spiders.

3. Graphic Designer - April 16, 2008

well, the spiders decide which is more weighty XD

but thanks for this good article you have! :3

4. Multimedia Services - April 16, 2008

i doubt that a tag will do much difference to your site, but thanks for putting this up! It’s worth a try!

5. Link Builder - April 17, 2008

Interesting. Keep it up!

6. Maggie - July 16, 2008

Hi, New to all this and trying to find the best way to setup Header tags i see this in my style_vacation.css file which descripes the fonts and color and things of this nature. But is what I am reading here an actual title with the heading.

My site: http://www.vacaitonabode.com

when i have run a test on line it tells me i have no headers?

I guess I just dont understand what I should be looking for here

7. Palestine Students Forum - August 25, 2008

headings (h1, h2, h3) is very important in SEO
So if use it you will success

8. Bubble Wrap Packaging - September 19, 2008

Does it matter how many characters are in your tag and does anyone know the relevance in blancing keywords between the and tags?

9. SEO Services > - December 30, 2008

Thanks for putting confidence back into the H1 tag, I too feel it’s important tag. I doubt that optimizing the H1 tag is a myth, although it might be that it’s become a less important factor in the search engines.

10. Simple SEO Best-Practices To Boost Your Landing Pages - The Official Clickable Blog | Clickable.com - March 20, 2009

[…] TagThere’s some controversy over how important <h1> tags really, but they are important nevertheless. Therefore, you should include your headline text in your <h1> tag. Search networks will find […]

11. seo optimization - March 24, 2009

good tips thx

12. Design Zone - March 29, 2009

h1 tags won’t make or break your page. Every little piece is valuable. Excluding the h1 will not necessarily keep you from receiving top ranking if everything else in your site is tuned correctly. But, since every little bit helps, don’t leave it out!

13. sak - May 5, 2009

can we get high ranking if we placed the h1 tag in the footer. one of my so called seo friend is insisting on putting h1,h2,h3 tag close to the footer and i am worried on this will give search bots wrong message.

14. RadioHead - May 6, 2009

For my clients I have followed these guidelines and am pleased with their rankings. The H3 tag I use for a ‘call to action’ at the bottom of the page – and I make sure my main keywords are in that call to action to. You want to make the content flow nicely and not stuff too many keywords – not very good SEO practice.

Great Read!

15. Jared Ritchey Design - June 13, 2009

Hey excellent article, I was just doing research on the very subject for one of my posts about using the WordPress editor and the importance of following a headline hierarchy using the H tags.

I’ve been telling people that when writing posts they should consider the H1 tag as the starting point for their documents subject header then all subsequent tags are relevant to either sub headers and so on.

Good work,
Jared Ritchey

16. Jeanette Bamford - June 24, 2009

Thanks for the info. Does anyone know if there is a problem with using H1 and H3 on pages, without any H2 tags?


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